Dental Assistant Salary
The average salary of dental assistant in US is $34,500.
The lowest 10 percent salary earned by these professionals is $23,550 per year while highest 10 percent is near or more than $47,580. These numbers are the data collected through a Certified Compensation Professionals’ analysis. Different employers of diverse human resources departments had participated in the survey. The median salary is the amount which marks the middle of highest and lowest earnings that mean half of the dental assistants earn greater than this value and half earn lesser.
Factors Affecting the Salaries of Dental Assistants
There are many factors that influence the salary of the dental assistant. The things that affect the income are:
The geographical location is a major factor that has its effects on the salary. For instance, in Alaska, dental assistants have higher salaries than the ones who are working in West Virginia.
The type of employment also influences the dental assistant’s salary. These professionals earn more in psychiatric hospitals and less in general hospitals.
The total average salary of these professionals after getting the benefits is about $48,000. The benefits enjoyed by dental assistants are:
- Paid time off,
- Social security,
- Health insurance, and
Duties of Dental Assistant
Dental assistants have diverse duties to perform. The day to day tasks of a dental assistant are taking care of x-rays, keeping records of the patients, scheduling the appointments and other works and duties. The duty varies from a place to place. The duties and tasks are:
- Preparing the patient for dental procedure by making them comfortable and easy in the dental chair
- Making dental instruments sterilized
- Setting and putting out the instruments and other things which are required for the dental procedure
- During the dental procedure, dental assistants help the dentists by providing them with the instruments directly needed in carrying out the procedure.
- Drying the patient’s mouths with the help of suction hoses
- Providing information to the patients about dental hygiene
- Completion of lab processes
- Keeping all the dental records of the lab and scheduling appointments
- Making billing and keeping record of the payment made by the patients
- Completion and performance of lab task usually done under the supervision or on instructions of the dentists
- Preparing temporary crowns and materials for the casts are also the duties of the dental assistant.
These are the tasks that usually performed by the dental assistants but it is not necessary that they must perform them as they are dependent on the work place and requirements of the individual. The following tasks are considered as the duties of dental assistants in some states:
- Sealant application: In it, cavities development is ceased by applying plastic substance in a thin coat form on the teeth to prevent bacteria and food particles from any sort of damaging.
- Topical anesthetics application: In dental procedures, temporary numbness is necessary. Some dental assistants can apply topical anesthetic as the preparation of the further dental processing.
- Coronal polishing: It is the practice in which teeth are made look brighter by removing soft deposits including plague.
- Fluoride application: Fluoride is the anti-cavity agent and it is being applied directly on the teeth in this practice.
These above mentioned tasks are not necessarily included in the duties of many dental assistants as some state strictly prohibited them to conduct the above mentioned tasks. Some states call for examinations and only after passing the exam, a dental assistant can perform these tasks.
How to Become a Dental Assistant
There are many options to select to be a dental assistant. In some states, completing graduation is the requirement from an accredited place and then passing the state exam; while in some states, there is no particular education necessary to be a dental assistant.
In the high school, it is important for the students who want a career of a dental assistant to go for the subjects like biology, chemistry and anatomy. Most community colleges offer courses that can be completed in a year and give certificate or diploma on completion. The programs in the field that are completed in two years are not common and provide associate’s degree.
In some states, it is the requirement that dental assistant holds a certificate in the field but it is not a necessity in every state. The certification in this field can be obtained by passing the examination of Certified Dental Assistant or CDA from DANB (Dental Assisting National Board).
Demand of the Profession
It is expected that the employment requirement of dental assistants will increase by 25 percent from 2012 to 2022. These rates are very much higher than any other profession. There is an ongoing research for connecting oral and general health that will increase the demand of this profession for sure in the future.